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Howie and Pepper Litter – Week Six

  We're growing by the minute and cute as ever! “The Amusement Park” This has been a very well-behaved litter. They’re pretty quiet, play nicely with others and are very smart. Their ability to hit the mark in the restroom (the potty tray filled with shredded paper) is unprecedented. Sooner or later, it was bound to happen that some little culprits broke rank and marred their stellar reputation. The other day we found a little stuffed chick floating in the water bowl – the victim of an apparent hazing incident. We have no idea who instigated it and no one’s talking! Mother Nature has been less than cooperative with the weather which has ranged from snowy/slushy rain to an extreme deep freeze. Normally, we’d have had a litter this age outside, so under the circumstances we had to be a bit creative, so we set up a fully decked out amusement park in the kitchen. The floor was lined with mats and towels. There were many stuffies, balls, a giant play station and a maze of tunnels. The f
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Our lovebug Olivia – Day 50 (pre-parturition)

Olivia hasn’t skipped a beat with her pregnancy. She continues to play in the yard with the pack but sneaks away to seek out and/or excavate a den where she intends her puppies to be born. But not to worry, she’ll actually have them in a nice warm and sterile environment known as a whelping box.  Her appetite certainly hasn’t suffered as she polishes off her meals and looks for more! She is receiving fresh food with fruits, veggies, Omega oils, Folic Acid and vitamins. This week we’ll increase the frequency of her meals to three daily as there is less room for food given the size of the puppies. Olivia’s waistline has expanded from 27.5 inches to 32.5 inches or 82.5 cm. She is becoming increasingly more affectionate, demanding more belly rubs as you can see from the photo above.  Her activity level has remained about the same but over the next week we expect she will be slowing down. Golden Retriever puppy fetus Towards the 50th day of gestation, the fetuses’ skeletons are ossified. At

Howie and Pepper Litter – Week Five

    We're growing like weeds! “All You Need is Love”   Dogs are pack animals and their emotional well-being relies on the presence of their pack-mates, whether other dogs or humans. It underscores the need for love that we all experience.  The dynamic in the whelping box is evolving.  This is the beginning of the most influential socialization period for the puppies. They’re learning to communicate with each other and with us by wagging their tails. With the increased control over their facial muscles, they are making expressions and are beginning to reveal their personalities and communicate their opinions. They spend longer periods of time awake and they use it to engage in some manner of play with their siblings whether head butting or wrestling, awake or asleep. They’re also craving a lot of attention and affection and fortunately that’s something that’s not hard to provide.   This week we removed the pig rails from the main part of the whelping box . Now that the puppies are p

Howie and Pepper Litter – Week Four

  It's all about playing this week! “School is in Session” Pepper and her crew have moved out of the bedroom and relocated into the living room which is like a V.I.P. room for moms. She has a sofa to stretch out on for her ultimate relaxation while being able to keep a watchful eye and ear on her brood. What’s more, she has a private yard for a little walkabout which her puppies will eventually use as their playground.  The puppies now have numerous plush toys at their disposal and in order to accommodate their rapid growth and increased mobility, we’ve added an extension to the whelping box. This has doubled its size giving the gang lots more room to play in, so they are now able to pick up speed to scramble from end to end.  The little ones are developing their strength, co-ordination and cognitive skills as well as learning how to engage in an activity with a littermate, even if it’s just bumping heads. They typically congregate in groups ranging in size from two to four taking

Howie and Pepper Litter – Week Three

  Ain't No Mountain High enough..... “The Hoover” The pups reside in what’s called a whelping box: a 4 ft. square enclosure which we’ve lined with mats and towels, not to mention that nasty rolled-up towel that now serves as a headrest or leaning post for the little ones. There is an opening at one end of the whelping box that allows mom to get in and out at will to deal with her mini-pack or venture out on her well-deserved breaks. There are 4” high removable slats at the opening which serve to contain the pups. We start with one when they’re born and insert additional ones as they grow so that now we’re up to three so the pups can’t get out on their own. That said, the other day we discovered Miss Mars on the bedroom floor some distance from the whelping box. Apparently, she was latched onto Pepper’s milk receptacle with a super-vacuum, so she was whisked away and deposited onto the carpet where we had to rescue her. To accommodate the puppies’ rapid growth, we’ve had to raise th

Howie and Pepper Litter – Week Two

Sleeping beauties! “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” At first glance, it may appear that the puppies spend all their time sleeping, but they also do their share of exercising. As they lay there asleep, they are constantly twitching. These involuntary actions, referred to as “activated sleep,” help strengthen their leg muscles and begin to build muscle mass. We’ve also added a rolled-up towel which serves two purposes. It acts as a barrier to place the pups behind when mom is entering or exiting the whelping box. It also creates an obstacle course that the puppies must climb over to help them get their muscles into shape. All was well until one day; we heard a persistent cry for help emanating from the whelping box. Upon further investigation, we discovered Mr. Supernova stuck on his belly atop the roll with all his legs flailing in mid-air. We’re sure his legs will be long enough in another couple of days. It’s always exciting for us when the puppies’ eyes open at around the 10-day mark

Howie & Pepper Litter – Week One

  “Number Nine” Puppies are typically born in the middle of the night, but every now and again we catch a bit of a break. In fact, Pepper surprised us with a quick “deposit” of Miss Twilight (Purple) at 4:15 pm before we even had a chance to set up for the big event. In as much as we follow the science by taking temperatures, monitoring behaviour and stages of labour, we had to do a quick scramble. Her brother, Mr. Galaxy (grey) followed at 5:22 and so it went every thirty minutes of so for Miss Mars (Red), Mr. Martian (Green), Miss Milky Way (Beige), Miss Sunglow (Orange), Miss Comet (Yellow) and Mr. Supernova (Blue) at 8:15 pm. Pepper was dropping them out like a vending machine* so we were optimistic. And then we waited and waited and waited. It wasn’t until we carried out a procedure to “shuffle the deck” (dislodge a stuck puppy) that we were graced with the presence of “Number Nine” - Mr. Starry Night (Black) at 10:08 pm. Fortunately his sister Miss Moondust (Brown) capped off the